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Harry Potter film draws more than 1,200 fans at theater
Fans excited, sad about the final movie
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Harry Potter fans Kelsey Kirkpatrick, left, Gabrielle Diaz, and Cassidy Pendleton, right, wait in line to get inside the theater to see the midnight showing of the latest Harry Potter film Thursday night at Hollywood Cinemas.

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Wizards brandishing wands and donning cloaks of gold and scarlet gathered at the Hollywood Cinemas in Gainesville Thursday night alongside muggles in anticipation of the end.

"Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2," the eighth and final chapter in the movie franchise, opens today.

Hollywood Cinemas General Manager Kelsey Fox said the theater pre-sold more than 1,250 tickets for the midnight premiere Thursday night.

"They think it's going to be the biggest opening of all time for a movie and I'm onboard with that. Our sales, companywide, are phenomenal," Fox said.

The movie is expected to break box office records and many are saying it could exceed the current record set by "The Dark Knight" Batman movie, which made more than $158 million opening weekend in 2008.

Fans came to the theater in droves hours before the midnight showing began.

Graham Dunlap and his girlfriend arrived at the theater early "to get a good seat and just to fellowship with all of our fellow Potter fans."

Ali Roland and her friends were among the first to line up for the midnight showing. The girls said they started preparing their costumes at 6 p.m. and even managed to score a few perks because of their Hogwart's uniforms.

"They let us into Starbucks after they closed because they liked our costumes," Roland said.

Brooke Heflin and her sister Kaylee played a game of Harry Potter Uno with a group of friends while they waited in line. Each member of the group was disguised as their favorite character.

The friends commemorated the movie they waited 10 years to see by having a Harry Potter party where they drank butter beer and made Harry Potter snacks.

"We're so excited we're breaking out into random song," Brooke said.

While the fans were excited to see the final installment in the Harry Potter saga, it brought a sense of sadness.

Lexxi Dellinger dressed up as Hermione Granger, Harry Potter's over-achieving best friend. She explained that she loves Harry Potter, a point she illustrates by covering the walls of her bedroom in Harry Potter posters.

"I'm going to cry, I'm so upset, I know at the end I'm going to cry," Lexxi said.
H
arry Potter first came to the silver screen in 2001, with "The Sorcerer's Stone." Families have grown up with the characters over the years and watching the movies has become something of a tradition. Heather Bush brought her three children to the midnight showing.

"I'm so excited, it's the final one and my family's watched them all together since the beginning, and it's just kind of bittersweet," Bush said.

Many fans wonder what they will do now that the final story of Harry Potter has been told. Some say they will have to read the books again, while others admit they will have to find something new to focus their attention on.

"It's so exciting, so sad at the same time," Dunlap said.

"This is it. This is the end. After this there is no more. But there will still be ‘Twilight.' "

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